While being outdoors in nature is a wonderful experience and great place to photograph, the urban outdoors is a far more common and often more complex experience. This week we explore photos that enjoy being outside but in town.
[one_half padding=”4px 8px 0 2px”]It was early on a Sunday morning when we shot today’s picture. Cynthia had contacted me because she had rescued a pup that had been in absolutely horrible condition and now that he was all clean and healthy she wanted pictures with him. Animal pictures aren’t exactly high on my list of things to shoot, though. As cute as they are, they tend to not follow directions too terribly well and shots of them just sitting are rather boring after the second snap.
Looking to put some excitement into the picture, I asked her to take the pictures in her underwear. Granted, that’s not a request I would make of too many people. Only someone with a lot of self-confidence, poise, and the ability to drop anyone who might make an inappropriate move could pull off this look without a large security staff standing by. The fact that Cynthia looked great walking down that street with the tiny little dog was almost secondary.
Timing and location were critical in making this shot happen. While we weren’t even remotely at risk of an indecent exposure charge, there was a real chance we could be cited with disturbing the peace if we chose the wrong neighborhood. After all, it’s not every day that one sees an attractive young blonde walking down the street in her underwear, especially in the Midwest. Her ability to be a distraction meant choosing a street and a time where traffic would be minimal. I had been watching this particular location for a while and knew it was our best chance at not being disruptive.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 2px 0 8px”]Of course, we still attracted a small amount of attention. There is a coffee shop just behind where I was shooting and being early on a Sunday there were, naturally, a handful of caffeine addicts who desperately needed their morning fix. No one complained, though, and when we stopped by the coffee shop later they were quite complimentary. One barista even asked if we might repeat the shoot on a regular basis, thinking it would help them attract early morning traffic.
Such are the type of things one encounters when shooting outdoors in an urban environment. Like shooting out in nature, there are all the benefits and challenges of light and shadow, but here one also has the addition of architecture, which can be incredibly beautiful to the point of being overwhelming, and traffic, which can be incredibly frustrating to the point of making a shot impossible. There are dangers, to be sure, but there are also some very strong benefits that make the urban outdoors an attraction all its own.
Americans are lucky to live in one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Even our largest cities are dotted with green space and urban planners everywhere are aware of the importance of building aesthetic value into a city’s appearance. Even in New York City, where people are seemingly stacked on top of each other there are places and times one can shoot in peace. We are quite fortunate to have the urban scenery we do and there’s no excuse not to capture it in photographs. Here’s to another week outdoors![/one_half_last]